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Supporting Partner of the East European Folklife Center


First International Folk Seminar

The First International Folk Seminar poster

In the beginning of August 2005, the First International Folk Seminar for foreign students took place in the classrooms of the Academy of Dance, Music and Fine Arts. The idea of the seminar was to give an opportunity for people from all over the world to visit the Academy and experience our rich folklore two ways: by observing the traditional way of playing music, singing and dancing, and by attending classes in folk music, singing and dancing. To make this idea a reality, the Academy's Board of Directors sought out teachers of both kinds of background: well-known village musicians and dancers as well as professors who currently teach at the Academy.

For one week, the Academy hosted more that 80 foreign students from Australia, Japan, the United States, Canada, Italy (so far 4 continents), Israel, Belgium, France, Germany, the Netherlands, England, Finland and Norway. All these students came to us because they are keen lovers of the Bulgarian folk instruments, songs, and dances. They attended classes in clarinet, gudulka, tambura, Rhodope gaida, Thracian gaida, kaval, accordion, violin, zurna and tupan. The singers had the opportunity to study the intricacies of the Thracian and Shope singing style.

Without a doubt, the greatest attendance was noted in the folk dance classes. There our guests met teachers from Northern Bulgaria, Dobrudja, Shopluk, Thrace, Pirin Macedonia. I should mention that while most of the dance teachers had never previously taught foreign students, they had no problems during the Seminar.

The Academy also arranged for classes in Bulgarian for those who were interested in studying our language. Here Angela Rodel was in her element and did an excellent job! Thanks to her lessons, everyone knew very soon how to order a Shopska salad, Grozdova Rakia (grape brandy), two bottles of red wine. And most importantly, all her students now know the exact address of the Academy.

At the conclusion of the Seminar, each student received a certificate for their participation and brochures and informational materials about the activities and curriculum of the Academy. The certificates were presented personally by Professor Anastas Slavchev.

Dr. Lyuben Dossev
September 2005,
article printed in the monthly Academy newsletter